By Lance Goens - 12/17/2018 4:38:00 PM
Sump Pump Service
Even on the sunniest day, your basement walls and floor may be holding back hundreds of gallons of water. It’s the moisture you don’t see that may be the reason you need a sump pump installed in your house. A basement-flooding deluge of rainfall is an obvious reason to have the extra protection of a pump to prevent your home and possessions from being swamped. However, a storm is a transient event and may not recur with regularity. Another source of water entering your home is ground water. If you live in a house where ground water is a factor, you have a 24/7 source of damaging water seeking to leak into your basement through every possible entry point, or even by just permanently saturating solid concrete and brick, causing it to “weep” on the interior side. Installation of a sump pump helps relieve this pressure and guards against structural and property damage from this ever-present threat.
Your House Under Pressure
The water table is the level of ground water existing in the soil. That’s free water dispersed among the rocks and soil. In some locales you’d have to drill more than 100 feet to reach the water table. In others, you can get there with a garden shovel. The volume and power of water trapped in the ground should not be underestimated. Water can destroy concrete dams and push building foundations aside. It’s important to realize that this is not simply static water pooled below ground. This is water under active upward pressure from the cumulative weight of soil and rocks surrounding it.
The orientation of the pressure imposes the greatest force on basement floors as water continuously pushes up from beneath. Ground water pressure is frequently sufficient to force water through the porous composition of concrete blocks and foundations that are normally water-resistant, even where there are no cracks or other openings to admit the flow. And it’s far from an uncommon phenomenon. Studies show that about 60 percent of homes are at some level of risk from chronic ground water damage or acute rain flooding or both.
Hydrostatic pressure is often enough alone to threaten your basement with water intrusion. When it’s accompanied by even normal amounts of seasonal rainfall or a rapid snow melt, however, the water table in the super-saturated soil may rise all the way to ground level. This intensifies the force of water against the basement walls and pressing upward against the floor. While hydrostatic pressure presents an ongoing threat of chronic low-level infusion of water, rainfall or melting snow adds the potential of an acute flood crisis inside your home. Both scenarios can be avoided by constructing a sump pit in the basement floor and installing a pump to alleviate the pressure and automatically evacuate water as fast as it accumulates in the pit.
The Sump Pit Downstairs
Sump pits are normally excavated in the most central location possible in the basement floor. This provides the best equalization of hydrostatic pressure on the underside of the slab. Because a sump pit and the pump installed in the pit will require periodic maintenance, the installation should be readily accessible to the homeowner. A typical circular sump pit is about two feet in diameter and completely penetrates the concrete slab, extending up to 30 inches into the ground below the slab. When filled, the pit will hold about 15 to 25 gallons of water. Excavating a sump pit is not a DIY project and normally requires use of an air-powered jackhammer to break through the slab.
Sizing the Pump
Most sump pumps are common centrifugal pumps. Sump pump motors are rated by horsepower and the majority are less than one. They typically range from 1/4 to 1/2 HP with 1/3 HP models being the most common in residences. More horsepower is not necessarily better.
Many local codes prohibit pumping sump water into a household sewer drain. The most common drain arrangement calls for a vertical pipe extending from the pump outlet up to ground level, then through an exterior wall and horizontally to an area outside at least 5’ from the foundation of the house and not in direct line with any windows or doors.
Do You Need a Backup Power Supply for Your Sump Pump
Yes, you do. The extreme weather conditions that may cause acute influx of water table into your basement are precisely the same conditions frequently associated with loss of electrical power on the grid. A sump pump is of little use in a period of ground water inundation if it doesn’t have the power to run. The most common backup systems are operated by a 12-volt deep cycle marine battery, keep your pump bailing out your basement when you need it the most. Another valuable accessory is a high water alarm that alerts you if the sump pit is overflowing.
Keep the rising water out of your basement now and in times of heavy rainfall with an automatic sump pump installation by our trained professionals.